Analysis of trends in climate, streamflow, and stream temperature in north coastal California

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Edited by: C. Nicholas MedleyGlenn Patterson, and Melanie J. Parker

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Abstract

As part of a broader project analyzing trends in climate, streamflow, vegetation, salmon, and ocean conditions in northern California national park units, we compiled average monthly air temperature and precipitation data from 73 climate stations, streamflow data from 21 river gaging stations, and limited stream temperature data from salmon-bearing rivers in north coastal California. Many climate stations show a statistically significant increase in both average maximum and average minimum air temperature in early fall and midwinter during the last century. Concurrently, average September precipitation has decreased. In many coastal rivers, summer low flow has decreased and summer stream temperatures have increased, which affects summer rearing habitat for salmonids. Nevertheless, because vegetative cover has also changed during this time period, we cannot ascribe streamflow changes to climate change without first assessing water budgets. Although shifts in the timing of the centroid of runoff have been documented in snowmelt-dominated watersheds in the western United States, this was not the case in lower elevation coastal rivers analyzed in this study.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Title Analysis of trends in climate, streamflow, and stream temperature in north coastal California
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s) Western Ecological Research Center
Description 6 p.
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title Observing, studying, and managing for change - Proceedings of the Fourth Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011–5169
First page 40
Last page 45
Conference Title The Fourth Interagency Conference on Research in the Watersheds
Conference Location Fairbanks, AK
Conference Date September 26-30, 2011
Country United States
State California
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N